Customer Effort Score (CES)

What is Customer Effort Score (CES)?

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a metric used to measure the ease with which customers can interact with a company and accomplish their desired tasks. Typically obtained through surveys, CES asks customers to rate the effort they had to expend to get an issue resolved, a request fulfilled, or a product or service purchased or used. The score is usually based on a scale, such as 1 to 5 or 1 to 7, where a lower score indicates less effort was required, and a higher score indicates more effort was required. The fundamental premise behind CES is that companies can foster customer loyalty by minimizing effort and simplifying processes.

Why Measure Customer Effort Score?

  • Simplicity and Predictive Power: CES provides a straightforward, actionable metric that can be a strong predictor of customer loyalty. Reducing customer effort can lead to higher satisfaction and increased likelihood of repeat business.
  • Identify Friction Points: CES helps identify areas of the customer journey that are cumbersome or unnecessarily complicated, providing specific insights into where improvements can be made.
  • Improve Customer Experience: By focusing on reducing customer effort, companies can streamline processes, improve service interactions, and enhance overall customer experience.

How to Calculate Customer Effort Score

The Customer Effort Score can be calculated by asking customers a question such as, "On a scale from 1 to 7, how easy was it to handle your request?" After collecting responses, the CES is typically calculated as the average score of all responses. Some organizations might also segment the data further to analyze differences in effort scores across various products, services, or customer segments.

Best Practices for Using Customer Effort Score

  • Be Timely: Ask for CES feedback shortly after the customer interaction or experience while it's still fresh in their minds.
  • Follow Up on High-Effort Experiences: Identify cases where customers reported high effort and follow up to understand the issues and resolve any ongoing problems.
  • Integrate with Other Metrics: Use CES in conjunction with other metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) for a more comprehensive view of customer experience.
  • Communicate and Act: Share what you learn from CES feedback across your organization and use the insights to drive meaningful changes that reduce customer effort.
  • Track and Compare Over Time: Monitor CES over time to measure the impact of changes and identify new areas for improvement.

Challenges of Customer Effort Score

  • Context and Specificity: CES focuses on effort but may not capture other important aspects of the customer experience, such as emotional satisfaction or product quality.
  • Subjectivity: Perceptions of effort can be highly subjective and influenced by factors unrelated to the actual interaction, such as customer mood or external pressures.
  • Overemphasis on Effort Reduction: While reducing effort is important, it should not come at the expense of other critical elements like service quality or personalization.


Customer Effort Score is a valuable metric for businesses focused on improving customer experience and building loyalty through ease of interaction. By systematically measuring and acting to reduce customer effort, companies can enhance satisfaction, foster positive word-of-mouth, and increase the likelihood of repeat business. However, CES should be used as part of a broader customer experience measurement strategy to ensure a well-rounded understanding of customer needs and perceptions.

See Also

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a metric that measures the ease with which customers can get their issues resolved, use a product or service, or interact with a company. It's based on the premise that customers are more loyal to companies that make their lives easier. CES is typically measured by asking customers to rate the effort they had to expend to handle a request or resolve a problem on a scale, often from "Very Easy" to "Very Difficult." Lower effort scores indicate better customer experiences and can lead to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. Focusing on reducing customer effort can help businesses streamline processes, improve service efficiency, and enhance overall customer satisfaction.

  • Customer Experience Management (CEM): Discussing the design and reaction to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations, emphasizing the role of ease and minimal effort in creating positive experiences.
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): Explaining a measure of how products or services meet or surpass customer expectation, and how reducing customer effort is directly related to improving satisfaction scores.
  • Customer Loyalty: Covering the commitment of customers to continue buying products or services from a specific brand, highlighting how lower effort scores can contribute to increased loyalty.
  • Service Design: Discussing the planning and organizing of a company's resources (people, props, and processes) to improve the employee's experience, and thus indirectly, the customer's experience, focusing on simplifying interactions.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Explaining systems that help manage a company‚Äôs interactions with current and potential customers, supporting efforts to reduce customer effort by centralizing information and streamlining processes.
  • Customer Feedback Loops: Covering the process of asking for, analyzing, and acting on feedback from customers, crucial for identifying areas where customer effort can be reduced.
  • Process Improvement: Discussing strategies for identifying, analyzing, and improving existing business processes to enhance efficiency and reduce customer effort.
  • User Experience Design (UX): Explaining the process of creating products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users, focusing on ease of use and reducing effort in the user interface and interaction design.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Discussing a metric used to gauge the loyalty of a company's customer relationships, and how effort scores can impact a customer's likelihood to recommend a company.
  • Customer Journey Mapping: Covering the tool used to visualize the customer journey across multiple touchpoints, helping businesses identify and eliminate unnecessary customer effort.
  • Behavioral Economics: Exploring how psychological, cognitive, emotional, cultural, and social factors affect the economic decisions of individuals and institutions, including how perceived effort influences customer behavior.
  • Omnichannel Strategy: Discussing the seamless and integrated customer experience across multiple channels and devices, which can help reduce customer effort by offering multiple, convenient ways of interaction.